Australian lithium miner Core Lithium has reached two milestones at its Finniss Lithium project, south of Darwin Port in the Northern Territory (NT), Australia.

The first milestone is the start of the loading of the first spodumene concentrate ship and the second milestone is securing approval from the NT government for the BP33 underground project.

The spodumene concentrate being loaded was produced at the Grants open pit and is scheduled to set sail within the coming days.

The approximately 5,500t shipment has .56% lithium oxide spodumene concentrate.

It was sold to a long-term customer Sichuan Yahua through sale agreements announced in March for cargoes weighing 3,500t and 15,000t.

These agreements were in addition to the existing agreements signed in 2019 to sell 300,000t over a four-year period.

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The Finniss Lithium project hosts a mineral resource of 15 million tonnes at 1.2% lithium oxide.

As the flagship project for the company, it covers an area of more than 500km² and lies within one of the most prospective areas for lithium in the Bynoe Pegmatite Field.

The pre-production capital expenditure on the project stands at A$89m.

With strong cashflows and a capital payback period of two years, the project is expected to become one of the lowest capital-intensive lithium projects in the country.

The grant of the mining authorisation and mine management plan (MMP) for BP33 is the final step in the approval process for the BP33 deposit ahead of an investment decision by the company.

BP33 is located close to the Grants open pit, crusher and DMS plant and has a mineral resource of 10.1 million tonnes at a 1.48% concentration of lithium oxide.